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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  January 11, 2011 5:00am-6:00am EST

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he had pulled it out of his pocket and it was on the ground. he dropped it and i was able to get it before he did. >> maisch grabs the ammunition before jared loughner could reload his gun. maisch says she just reacted. >> remarkable actions in the face of unspeakable horror. thanks for being with us thanks for being with us tonight. 6 -- captions by vitac -- welcome back to "ac 360." "terror in tucson" the latest in the killing of a small child, a federal judge and four others and the near deadly shooting of congresswoman gab ye8 giffords. president obama going to tucson. a portrait of the suspect, jared loughner and his mug shot released and what he said in court and what was allegedly found in his home that seems to indicate this was very premeditated. we have details of what he was like, signs of instability and warnings from those that knew
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him. one teacher worried he would end up shooting his school. we'll talk that those that knew him and worried about him long before he started shooting. and the critical hours and days ahead for congresswoman giffords. the skilled care she got and the heroes on the scene who saved her life. the heroes who wrestled the shooter to the ground and we'll talk to dr. sanjay gupta. and christina's story, her life began on 9/11, 2001, and it ended on saturday. tonight you'll hear directly from her parents who want you to know about the bright and brave little girl they lost and we all lost. we begin with the latest and, perhaps, most startling thing to happen today. we got our first official look at jared loughner. this is the ghoulish photo that was released. his head shaved, highs eyes piercing. the mug shot, a smile on his face and a slight cut on his head. he was in federal court entering no plea but understanding a
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judge's questions about whether understood the charges as they were read. the report says he said nothing about the killings. he faces two counts of murder, two counts of attempted murder and one count of attempting to kill a member of congress. all charges relate to attacks on federal employees at this point but the state of arizona may file additional charges. in all, he's accused of shooting 20 people, killing six of them. loughner is scheduled back in court in two weeks. this is his home. court documents revealed that inside authorities discovered an envelope with writing on it with the words, quote, i planned ahead my assassination -- and the word, "giffords." we'll talk to people who knew this young man, were concerned about him and raised red flags about the possibility that he could revert to violence. with before we talk about the suspect let's talk about the victims. we talk so much about the killer and everyone remembers his names for years on but all too often we don't remember the names of
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the victims and that's the tragedy. john m roll, the chief federal judge in arizona appointed to the bench by the first president bush. friends describe him as a quiet thoughtful man. a wife, three sons, five grandchildren and we think of them tonight, he was 63 years old. gabe zimmerman was congresswoman aide. dorwin stoddard. 76 years old. he was killed shielding his wife from the gunman. phyllis schneck was one of the best cooks you'll ever find. she loved jigsaw was puzzles and she was 79.
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dorothy morris was married to more than half a century to husband george and friends said they still lived like newlyweds. they both got shot. george survived but dorothy did not and the littlest victim, 9 years old when she died, fighting all the way, an a student, already deeply interested in the world and her. even in politics. her parents say the sky was the limit for her. i spoke to them a few hours ago and their strength is hard to imagine. they want you to know about christina and all the other who is died. they don't want you to forget the way they lived their lives and those they left behind. president obama telephoned christina's family and we'll talk to them about what he said. he spoke with other families and congresswoman giffords' rabbi. they say he'll likely visit families on wednesday. earlier today the president led the country in a moment of silence.
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they stood silent on the capitol steps and a bipartisan meeting to address security issues, all political issues on hold. as for congresswoman giffords she's in critical condition with a head wound and doctors are growing more optimistic because she's holding her own and so far as avoided potentially deadly complications. >> at this phase in the game no change is good and we have no change. that is to say she's still following the basic commands. on top of that, the c.a.t. scans are showing there's no progression of the swelling. we're not out of the woods yet. that swelling can sometimes take three days, or five days to maximize. but every day that goes by and we don't see an increase, we're slightly more optimistic. >> they warn she faces critical days, hours ahead as well as a potential of lifetime of rehabilitation. we'll talk about that and the heroes that saved her life. first, how he got here.
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minute by minute, the attack as we know it and the details that we now know. >> reporter: this simple tweet sent by congresswoman gabrielle giffords before she is gunned down. my first congress on your corner starts now. please stop by. it is almost 10:00 a.m., on saturday, in tucson, arizona. then, at 10:10, chaos and carnage as someone opens fire. >> i heard about 15 to 20 gunshots in the parking lot. i came outside immediately. i didn't have -- i saw people running and screaming toward where the shooting happened. >> we have breaking news for you coming out of tucson, arizona. several people have been shot. the tucson citizen newspaper reports that among those shooting victims congresswoman gabrielle giffords. she's a democrat with a house of representatives. >> reporter: the congresswoman and others gather outside this safeway and set up a table to meet with constituents one-on-one. the gunman, witnesses say, stels
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a staffer he wants to speak with the congresswoman and he's told to wait in a line of about 20 people and he complies. suddenly he gets out of line and quickly walks toward the congresswoman. he stops when he's about four feet away, raises his glock 9 millimeter pistol and fires. congresswoman giffords immediate falls. witnesses say the shooter then starts firing wildly. here, here, and here. 20 people are shot. daniel hernandez, the congresswoman's young intern on the job just a week hears someone yell, gun and then notices his boss is hit. >> i started applying pressure to her wound to stem some of the blood loss. >> hernandez, who was also a trained nursing assistant uses his bare hands to stop the bleeding until -- >> people from the safeway came outside with smocks from the meat department which were clean and we were able to then use those to cover her wound. she was alert and conscious.
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but she wasn't able to speak. >> at 10:11 a.m., the first of many 911 calls. >> yes. a guy it looked like the guy had a semiautomatic pistol and he went in and just started firing. >> can you describe him? >> what? >> can you describe him, sir? what was he wearing? >> he was wearing a hoody. >> what color? >> black. >> is anybody injured or you said gabrielle giffords was hit. >> she's breathing, i believe. she still has a pulse and we have two people -- we got one dead. >> okay and -- >> there's other people injured? >> other people. there's multiple people shot. >> okay. oh, my god. >> reporter: by 10:14 a.m., emergency medical crews are dispatched to the scene. witnesses say the shooting last just seconds.
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it only stops because the triggerman runs out of bullets. standing among the victims he reloads a new ammunition clip but the gun jams. there's a pause, an opportunity. the shooter is tackled to the ground. someone yells to patricia maisch to grab the empty ammunition clip on the ground. >> i thought i would be injured at the very least. i was pretty sure i was going to be hit with a bullet. so i was very thankful that those two brave men were able to secure him. the two men that secured him were the heroes. >> reporter: by 10:19 a.m., paramedics are on the scene but are held back until it's safe. three minutes later, 10:22 a.m., the suspect, jared lee loughner, is in custody. five victims are dead at the scene, including federal judge john roll, christina green, just 9, dies at the hospital.
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congresswoman giffords is at 3:00 p.m., the pena county sheriff confirms loughner is in custody but warning a second person may be involved. >> there's some reason to believe that he came to this location with another individual. and there's reason to believe that the other individual in some way be involved. >> reporter: that person of interest is later cleared. just a cab driver who may have dropped the suspect off. finally, around 4:00 p.m., here at the hospital the congresswoman's doctors deliver good news. >> the congresswoman is not deceased. >> can you tell us her condition? >> she's in critical condition. the neurosurgeons have finished operating on her and at the current time period i'm very optimistic about recovery. >> reporter: from the white house the president speaks at 4:45. >> i know gabby is as tough as they come and i'm hopeful that she's going to pull through. >> reporter: even with a bullet through her head, congresswoman
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gabrielle giffords is alive. randi kaye, cnn, tucson, arizona. >> she's alive and so are some other who took action that stopped the killing and helped the wounded. you heard in the report, patricia maisch grabbed a gun clip. dr. steven rhee and the intern, daniel hernandez who provided first aid to the congresswoman. patricia, loughner was just feet away from you. when the shooting began what was going through your mind? >> when i heard the first shot i knew it was a gunshot and it was just a momentary pause before he started shooting again and i could see him coming down the line of people and i decide it was better to drop on the ground than to run and make myself a target. so i was standing next to a
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woman and her teenage daughter who was gabrielle's page for three weeks and i heard and saw them -- the gunman shooting her. and i was really just laying there waiting, wondering how bad i was going to be hit and thinking about the concrete and how the bullets might be ricochetting and wondering how a bullet felt. and instead, i got to feel how the gunman coming down right partly on me and on the sidewalk felt because colonel badger and roger solsberg, they tackled him and wrestled him to the ground. as soon as he hit the ground, i was on my knees and someone is shouted "get the gun" but i wasn't able to reach the gun and i think colonel badger was able
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to push it out of the way with his foot. i'm not sure about that. but he grabbed a clip out of his left pocket and dropped it on the sidewalk and was trying to pick it up but i managed to get it instead of him and grasped it. now roger and colonel badger were securing him on his upper body but he was flailing his legs so i kneeled on his legs until i noticed that colonel badger was bleeding from a wound on his head. and then asked bystander, who happened to be joe, to come and take my place on his legs while i ran into safeway and -- >> let me bring in joe. when the shooting began you ran toward the shooter. what -- did you get a plain look at him? >> i actually came running out of the store after hearing the shots. they were already wrestling with
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him and i saw a different gentleman holding the firearm and i thought he was the shooter. but when i arrived there, they clarified to me and we were able to hold him down -- >> was he saying anything. >> not except for about his arm. you're breaking my arm. >> so he was complaining about him being in pain. steven, you were crouched behind a concrete pillar. could you see loughner from where you were? >> i could see him as he went by. i did not see him get tackled. at that point i was laying on the ground pretending to be shot so i wouldn't be a target. >> what was his demeanor like. did you get a look at his face? >> i got a look at his face. i saw him shoot congresswoman giffords. he seemed very determined. i got a brief look. i was more looking at the gun and what was happening in front but i couldn't say he had a
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crazed look in his eyes because i didn't really see. >> how close was he to giffords when he shot her? >> just a few feet. i mean, the gun itself was maybe a foot and a half. >> did she see him at all? was she facing away from him? >> she was facing away from him. i don't believe she saw him. i looked up just as it was happening so i didn't see the prelude to him. i looked up as he fired the shot. >> daniel, you rushed to congresswoman giffords' aid. was she conscious still? >> she was alert and conscious the entire time i was with her. >> and you got her up because you were concerned about her actually suffocating on her blood, is that right? >> that's correct. the original position she was in, she was a little bit vulnerable in terms of inhaling the blood that she had been losing from the wound. >> how did you know to do that? >> i propped her up against -- i had taken a certified nursing nurse's course and spent time working in a hospital.
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but it was all very limited first aid and triage skills. >> we all know you're supposed to apply pressure to wounds. that's what you did? >> yeah. once i had propped up the congresswoman, kind of up against my chest, i made sure she was breathing properly i started applying pressure to her wound on her head to try to stem some of the blood loss. >> what did you use to put pressure on? >> originally my hand until we were able to get smocks from inside the safeway. >> and steven, you used to be an emergency room doctor. what did you do when you realized so many people had been shot? >> i tried to triage. i tended to those -- obviously some were immediately dead. i could see that. people were -- there were so many people wounded i wanted to make sure that everybody was being treated appropriately. >> danielle, we heard patricia saying she doesn't feel like a hero. what about you? i think everybody would agree,
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what all of you did, all of you taking action was heroic. do you feel like that? >> no, the real heroes are people like congresswoman giffords, her district director. gabe zimmerman who we unfortunately lost. they are people that dedicated their lives to public service. they didn't just have a one-time experience. they dedicated their lives to helping others and they're the true heroes. >> daniel and patricia, steven and joe, i appreciate you being with us. i know you've been incredibly busy and i know it seems surreal. let us know what you think. our live chat is up. up next, disturbing actions of the suspect, jared loughner, witnessed by people close to him for months now, including people that feared for their lives. two classmates of his join us. fiber one chewy bar.
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jared aloof her is due in federal court in two weeks facing capital charges and a veteran public defender named judy clark will represent him. she represented the unabomber. and his motive may determine what happened to him if he's convicted. the picture of his mental state appears troubling to say the least after failing entrance into the army, those that knew him at a local community college say his behavior turned bizarre. more from drew griffin. >> i'm starting my fourth year. >> reporter: on the very first
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day of class, the math teacher knew there was something wrong with the student in classroom 209. a student named jared loughner. he had first become a disturbance, sudden outbursts, challenging his teaching. then going silent and ignoring everyone while listening to his ipod. the behavior, the professor thought, was threatening. >> i still felt uncomfortable as well as the other students. >> even after he was -- >> even after he was gone. you never know these guys. they could come back and try to, you know, cause harm. >> mcgahee teaches elementary algebra. >> they need to take this seriously. >> reporter: school officials suspended loughner in late september after five different incidents involving campus police. campus police visited him and
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his parents. but school officials say they couldn't do anything more. because of personal privacy rights. "keeping them honest," we asked the vice president of student development, dr. lorraine morales if they did enough. >> the school felt it had done what it needed to do to protect the other students on campus. >> yes. and that was our primary concern. >> reporter: this is where he went to high school, mountain view high school. his friends say he was talented. played saxophone in the high school band. but in junior year something happened. his friends say he began to use drugs and he never returned for his senior year. friends say loughner became obsessed with the nuance of language and with u.s. currency. in this text only posting on youtube before christmas, he said the majority of the residents of his congressional district were illiterate and added that nearly all the people who don't know this accurate information of a new currency
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aren't away of a mind control and brainwash methods. here at the tucson store where loughner bought the glock semiautomatic pistol in november, he didn't fit any of the, quote, prohibit pod saysor categories that would have prevented the purchase. he passed an instant federal background check and was on his way. he first tried to buy ammunition at this walmart store, abruptly left and made the purchase somewhere else. as the memorial candles still burn, outside the hospital where congresswoman gabby giffords is being treated, questions persist about how and whether jared loughner might have been stopped before the mayhem. drew griffin, cnn, tucson, arizona. >> that is one of the many questions tonight. joining us now, two former classmates of jared loughner. don and steven. steven, when did you first meet jared?
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>> in january of 2010, at the beginning of the class. >> what was your first impression of him? >> he was definitely off and that was definitely something that was apparent as soon as i met him, he had a grin about him and he would clinch his fists a lot. and that was something that made him appear off. >> don you sat two seats in front of loughner in the same poetry class. what struck you about him? >> the first time i was really struck by him was because he used inappropriate reactions to people's emotional content. he would laugh at things that were sad. he just didn't seem to be aware of what was going on. >> steven, you made an effort to befriend him, right? >> not -- i made an effort to talk to him and to reach out to him and show him that he wasn't completely isolated. >> what was your thinking on that?
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>> well, i grew up in a small town and this doesn't usually work in small towns so i knew what it felt like to be isolated and ostracized from my peers and i didn't want him to have to feel that in a poetry class. >> was he able to make a connection with you? did he talk to you? >> yeah. i sat directly behind him. he'd turn around and talk to me occasionally in class. when i would come into class, if he was already in there i'd give anymore a high-five before i sat down. >> in terms of real discussions and stuff, you never really developed that kind of relationship? >> no. we never really made it to the stage of being friends. most -- any discussions we had were usually pretty mundane. >> were you afraid of him in any way? >> no, not really. i didn't -- i didn't feel afraid when i was around >> there were complaints about him, right? >> yes. >> and did anything happen after
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the complaint? >> i don't remember if he was actually removed from the class or if he just stopped showing up. i don't remember him being there nearly as much toward the end of the semester. >> don, did loughner do anything or say anything that made you concerned about your safety or about what he may do? >> i was never afraid for my safety, no. but if i can jump on what steven just said, i had a conversation with the professor about just the class in general at the end of the year. and he did indicate to me that he had him removed from the class and it was because of complaints from a variety of students. some of them apparently felt uncomfortable. and didn't like his presence in the classroom. he was asked to be removed from the class. >> steven, after he left school, did you ever see him again? >> i did not. i actually didn't see him after
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the semester was over. before he was removed from pima. >> i don't know if you've had a look at the mug shot. his head is shaved. how does that compare to the guy you know? >> his -- when i knew him, he had just a buzzed haze as opposed to a shaved head but that same look was the look that made people in class uncomfortable. >> don, do you agree? is that your reading of this mug shot? >> yes, it is. i agree with steven very much on that. that's exactly correct. >> that same look? >> yes. he had that look. >> he had that look? >> yes. >> don and steven, i appreciate you taking time to talk with us, thank you. >> not a problem. >> you're welcome. we'll hear from the parents of christina taylor green, the youngest victim in the tucson shootings, just 9 years old. she was at the safeway store on saturday not by chance, but because of her deep interest in government at the age of 9, imagine that.
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and in the critical hours, dr. sanjay gupta will explain how she survived the seemingly impossible. you heard from a witness she was shot just from a few feet away. not even seeing gunman. a bullet went through her head and entering from the rear. we'll take your text questions to them at 22360 or ac be 6 -- ac 360. woman: here's my new windows phone... it's really different. it's got this start screen that lets me do stuff faster and easier. see? it even has bing right here. so...the second my flight gets canceled, i can quickly find the nearest... airport hotel. i'm in, i'm out, and i'm done. so now i can actually look up and make sure i get off this thing. vo: now for a limited time get a samsung focus for $99.99 at at&t.
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you're looking at a live picture of the makeshift memorial that has spontaneously been put up outside the hospital where congresswoman giffords is
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now still lying in critical condition. we're bringing you the latest from arizona. it's been almost 60 hours since the congresswoman was shot in the head at point-blank range. according to her doctors, it's incredible and the next few hours are critical. in a news conference today they said giffords' condition is unchanged but no change is actually good news and we learned more about where and how the bullet struck her, details that could work in her favor. dr. sanjay gupta joins me now. i was amazed to hear earlier from one of our guests that the close range at which she was shot and she was facing away from the gunman so the bullet passed from the rear of her skull out to the front. that's actually better than if it had passed from the side, correct? >> yeah. one of the things when you're looking at a patient like this, there's several crucial decisions surgeons make immediately and one is to look and see how the patient is doing in terms of blood pressure and heart rate and a neurological exam. but you're right.
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what we know is that bullets that actually pass from across the mid line, we call it, let me show you really quick. looking at a skull, going all the way from the right to the left, or from the left to the right, that tends to be a big problem because so much of the structures that control a person's ability to control their own heart race and respirations and that sort of stuff, that's sort of in that midline area. and that's what's so important. if it stays on one side of the brain, the left or right, the chances of surviving that are much, much higher, anderson. >> we're told she's in a medically induced coma. they removed an area of her skull. that's to reduce swelling, correct? >> that's right. you have to almost anticipate that there's going to be swelling here. and any time you have an injury to the brain like this you anticipate that. the thing with the brain, unlike other organs in the body on organs in your abdomen, if you have swelling you have room for them to swell.
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in the brain you don't. the only place it can go down and that can be a catastrophic problem. so you want to provide room this way. what's also interesting with this was a through-and-through injure or a in and out injury of the skull. the type of bullet, a 9 millimeter bullet a lot has been made. we don't know the specific ba list ballistics of it, the fact it went through the skull and the brain in the end was probably a good thing. so much of the energy instead of staying in the intercranial cavity, moves out and sort of dissipated into space instead. i think that's an important point and it was a good sign and an important sign for her. >> we have a text 360 question from michigan. they ask, how much normal function will representative giffords regain in recovery? can we know that at this point? probably not. >> i think we can't know and none of the doctors are going to comment on that.
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probably should not be commenting but i'll tell you when you think about the left side of the brain, a couple of things to keep in mind. one is that the -- in most people's speech is located in this part of the brain. and when we say "speech" that's an umbrella term for all forms of communication. your ability to express yourself. both in written and spoken words. but also, to receive communication. to be able to understand somebody. so this is a very obviously a very important part of who somebody is. and also, the strength on the right side of the boy bo did is controlled by the left side of the brain. that's something else i'm sure the doctor also monitor carefully. tough to evaluate that fully when someone's in critical condition and as you pointed out, the trajectory of this coming out in the front area exit wounds can -- tend to be larger than the entrance wounds as well. and could that have affected her vision? possibly. a couple of things i'm sure they're going to be looking for. >> certainly our thoughts are with her family and sanjay, appreciate it. we talked at the beginning of
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the program about not just focusing on the shooter as so often happens but honoring and remembering the victims. learning their names. learning their stories. the youngest victim, this little girl, christina taylor green. you probably heard her name by now. she was just 9 years old, the granddaughter of former major league pitcher. she was a 9/11 baby. she cham into the world the same day the planes hit the pentagon. the national pentagon shaped her life. she was elected to the student council. she was interested in government and that's why she went to the safeway on saturday to meet representative giffords. i spoke to her parents earlier. john and roxana, i want to say i'm so sorry obviously for your loss. how are you guys holding up, john? >> it's been difficult. as my wife said today, we didn't feel like we would be picking out caskets at 9 years old and
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we had to do that today. but you know, my wife's been amazing. my son and my family and the support we've gotten from the community and all our friends has been amazing. >> tell me about christina? she seems like a incredible girl. >> she was a wonderful girl. she was the best daughter in the world. she was a straight-a student. a good athlete. she was very concerned and with government and with learning ways that she could help the community. >> she was interested in politics? >> yes, she was. >> at 9, that's remarkable. >> she got that from her grandmother and her mother, both of them are politically minded and followed the presidential campaign with president obama. >> john, can you take us through
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the events of saturday morning? when did you get word that something had happened. >> roxanne had gotten a phone call from bill hidleman, our neighbor, and his wife, suzy. they took my daughter to this gabrielle giffords meet-and-greet at the safeway. we didn't know anything -- roxanne realized something was amiss and as i got up to the emergency room and saw my wife's face i knew it wasn't good. and the surgeon sat down and gave me the same explanation that she had gotten and that christina was -- she fought, she fought all the way and she was still alive when she got to the hospital but she didn't make it
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and -- they took us back with her. and we all, my son and all of us got a chance to say good-bye. >> roxanne, how old is dallas, your son? >> dallas is 11 years old. he's in fifth grade. >> when he was there with you when you got word, how did you explain to him what was going on? >> i don't think he really understood at first because he came over to me and he said, so, are we going to go see christina now? i was he was in shock or overwhelmed. he didn't really understand so i had to explain to him that christina didn't make it. that she was shot in the chest. and that she died and went to heaven. >> what do you want her legacy to be? it's a strange question to ask but what do you want people to know about her?
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>> i just want people to know that she was a fearless, brave, courageous, intelligent little girl. she had an amazing nine years on this earth. she did things and wanted to do things that most people never even dream about. i hope that she'll always be -- people will hope for change for peace. and that's what christina would want. she wouldn't want us to be sad. shes she was would be like, let's do something. let's make this never happen again so no one else has to get hurt. >> john, there's obviously a lot of finger-pointing going on. people are talking about politics and the heated rhetoric. is any of that resonate with you or do you think that's inappropriate? >> i don't think it's about politics. you know? i think it's a random act of violence. i think it's a way that -- you know, i think some of it is
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media-driven, to be honest with you. because people have begun to learn that they can solve some of their problems and make a big splash. i don't want to politicize this thing. i want to remember, you know, our daughter and i wanted the country to remember our daughter. i believe she would have been a great patriot and a great american. my fear is that people forget and i don't want people to forget her. we know we never will and people that have come into contact with her. they'll never forget her. i just want to point out the other thing. president obama called last night and roxana, who is a huge fan of president obama, and my son, and he talked to me but my son was thrilled to talk to the president. and that showed a lot about our president.
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>> roxana, what did he say to you? >> he just wanted to express his deepest sympathies and condolences and said that he was positive and said, you're going to get through this. we'll all be here for you and it was just amazing. it was one of the best conversations or phone calls i've ever got. >> i want to thank you. i hope you both stay strong as you have been and, again, thanks for coming on and telling us about christina. >> thank you very much, anderson. >> thank you. >> incredibly strong. you heard the greens address the issue, the calls to tone down the political rhetoric once and for all but even in the days since the shooting a lot of finger-pointing on both sides. democrats saying republicans are to blame for the climate of heated rhetoric. they say democrats are polarizing the shooting. local sheriff weighed in. a look coming up of if the talk was toxic or if that had nothing to do with this.
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in the days since the shooting there's been all kinds of finger-pointing about who's to blame. amid calls to tone down the rhetoric it seems to be rach ratcheting up. they accusing a toxic environment of inflammatory political speech and conservative radio is blowing up with accusations saying democrats are politicizing the shooting. we should keep in mind there's been nothing to link the shooter to any of this rhetoric. he's had some internet ramblings but some that knew him say he was more interested in philosophical discussions than political ones. in the last day or two, an image pointed out by sarah palin. campaigning back in march, you'll remember palin posted a map on facebook putting cross
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hairs over some democratic controlled districts including giffords. at the same time palin tweeted, don't retreat. reload. representative giffords took issue with palin's imagery and here's what she said on msnbc back in march. >> we're on sarah palin's targeted list. but the thing is, the way she has it depicted has the cross hair of a gun sight over our district. will people do that? you have to realize there's consequences to that action. >> a day after that interview with representative giffords, palin was in the district campaigning with senator john mccain. here's what she said about the criticism of her weapons' metaphors. >> we know violence isn't the answer. when we take up our arms we're talking about our vote. we're talking about being involved in a contested primary like this. and picking the right candidate, too, john mccain. but this b.s. coming from the media about this inciting violence. don't let the conversation be
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diverted. don't let a distraction like that get you off track. >> palin's echoing the statements in an e-mail that glen beck talked about and palin says she hates violence that, quote, our children won't have peace if politicos capitalize on this. in arizona even law enforcement weighed in on the night of the shooting the democratic pima county sheriff talked about tone and how it can have deadly consequences. >> when the rhetoric about hatred and mistrust of government and about paranoia of how government operates, and to try to inflame the public on a daily basis, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, has impact on people especially who are unbalanced personalities to begin with. >> the tone of political rhetoric in general is something congresswoman giffords had been concerned with. the night before she was shot she sent an e-mail to trey
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greyson and congratulated him to being on the harvard university politics board. she said we need to tone the rhetoric and partisanship down. i spoke earlier with dana lash, radio host and tea party organizer and senior plit analyst david gergen and plit analyst, roland martin. roland, the local sheriff pointed a finger at pit cal rhetoric. a lot of republicans are pushing back. given there's no evidence this kid was particularly political. plenty of evidence he was mentally unstable. is it appropriate to use this shooting to blame politicians? >> i think it is appropriate for us to examine the kind of rhetoric we have in this country right now. here's what i found to be interesting. americans always want for something to happen before we react. i think even though there's nothing directly related to the political rhetoric in this case, we should be saying, wait a minute. how hot is it when people are getting death threats? people are going after folks'
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families? when you see letters and e-mails i saw, i think the opportunity to examine ourself is appropriate, even though there's no direct correlation. >> dana, is this an opportunity to examine ourself? is that what's been happening? >> i think the rhetoric has been the same as it has always been. nothing has changed from now from the '60s until now. everything has always been the same. what we have to realize. people can say what they want to on both sides but we can't excuse the fact that someone chooses to willfully interpret or perceive things the way they want to, and there's no evidence at all whatsoever that this guy listened to talk radio or watched news programs on the right or the left. >> david, what about that? dana raises the point it's always been the same rhetoric. if you look back to history going back to the revolutionary war days politics has always been a rough and tumble business in the united states. >> it has been but i think it's time to call the finger-pointing
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and accusations about this particular incident. there might be a silver like. i do think it's an opportunity to go to roland's point. an opportunity for president obama and the republican leadership to come together and jointly try to sort of see if there are ways they can get everybody to calm down, to tone down the rhetoric in our political discourse. we ought to be doing that regardless of whether tucson happened or not. it would be healthy for the governess of this country and the pride and unity. and i think that john boehner, like president obama, they both handled this well so far and i think they could come together from both sides of the aisle. this will be a moment for real bipartisanship. >> should this guy have been able to get a gun? a guy that people in the school he gets kicked out of school with mental instability and he's age to pass an instant background check. >> i go to what i said earlier.
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if, again, if his behavior had been reported there's no way he was going to walk into a fire armts' store and purr what is a firearm. it's not going to happen. but the ball has been dropped and it's not the law. the laws are incredibly strong enough already. the problem here is the fact that there's no awareness or alertness. people -- there was ample opportunity for people to say something about this kid's gave or this young man's behavior. but nothing was done. >> there was a -- the university had a process but the question then becomes -- what do they then do? who do they call? according to our system, unless a judge declares this individual mentally ill, it's easy to say, report it and he can't get a permit. >> then pursue it. if it's important enough to change the law about it it's definitely important enough to pursue it. >> david, where do you come down on the gun issue? >> i think it's insane that people like this are able to get guns. how many incidents does it take like this for us to realize that people who shouldn't have guns are able to get them too easily.
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the law has been loosened in arizona, unfortunately. and he could carry a concealed weapon. what are we doing allowing a 22 year old to carry a weapon. he could walk into a bar. the laws are too loose. they are not too tight. we've lowered the standards. the nra is behind this and i understand the need for hunters and i'm all for that. >> i reject that. >> i'm sorry, dana, people disagree with you. it takes licensing -- >> show me a county, prove to me and show me a county where concealed carry has been implements where the crime rates haven't dropped. i put the burden of proof on you. >> david? >> tucson, arizona, if that doesn't make the case, i don't know what does. >> dana, david and roland, thank you. former house majority leader tom delay sentenced on money laundering and conspiracy charges. will he go to the slammer? details ahead.
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gaue grmatains heyesy.rc g let's get caught up on some of tonight's other stories. here's your 360 bulletin. former house majority leader tom delay will serve three years in prison for money laundering and conspiracy charges. he also gets ten years probation with community service. the southeast is getting walloped by a winter storm. heavy snow has led to a state of emergency in five southeastern states. parts of tennessee and mississippi got up to 13 inches of snow and up to 18 inches fell in the mountains of western north carolina. and say hello to the name given to the smallest planet ever discovered outside the sun's solar system. a nasa spacecraft detected the planet -- >> a new planet, cool. >> joe, thanks.
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thanks for watching. see you tomorrow night. hello there, everybody. welcome to this "american morning" for this tuesday, january 11th. i'm t.j. holmes. >> i'm alina cho. here are the top stories we're watching this morning. frozen over. snow and ice shutting down the south this morning. cars are spinning. airlines scrambling as the freezing temperatures now moving to places like at